The new role-playing game from Gothic developer Piranha Bytes has been refused classification in Australia.
The Classification Board listing for Risen, a third-person RPG for PC and Xbox 360, was updated late yesterday with an RC rating. No reasons were given as to why the game has been refused classification.
However, website Refused-Classification has speculated as to why, citing an extract from the US ratings board, the ESRB's description of the game:
During the course of the game, players can interact with prostitutes (referred to as “whores” in the game) at a local brothel. Players can trigger a lengthy dialogue to engage in their services; sexual activity is strongly implied, but never depicted on screen. Many of the characters in the game smoke a fictional drug called “brugleweed.” The “wood reefer” plant is described as having a mild relaxing effect on users, and can be bought, sold, and used by players. Some profanity (e.g., “f*ck” and “sh*t”) can be heard in the dialogue.
Is any of that likely to exceed an MA15+ rating in this country? Profanity? No. Sex with prostitutes? Probably not. Smoking weed? Maybe.
We've contacted Risen's Australian distributor, Madman Interactive, for more information and we'll let you know if they have more detail to share.
UPDATE: To clarify, the quoted extract is from the US ratings board description of the game. It simply details elements from the game that the ESRB noted could affect its rating. It should not be taken as a list of reasons why the game was banned in Australia.
UPDATE#2: A spokesperson for Risen's Australian distributor Madman Interactive has told us that the Classification Board felt that the game contained "sexual activity and drug use related to incentives or rewards." That's an instant ban right there. Madman are considering all their options but have yet to decide whether they will appeal the decision or seek to edit the game to suit an MA15+ rating.